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Aleksandra Bzdzikot

PAINTING & ILLUSTRATION

 

28.10.2018

Urban sketching. The ultimate guide.

How often do you travel? I guess you go on holidays or business at least once per year. Those of you who like to do some art - I have some good news for you. Why don't you get out of your comfort zone and do some urban sketching? Sketch on the go, with minimum art supplies at hand. 

 

1. WHAT IS URBAN SKETCHING?

 

Urban sketching is an amazing form of art that can be pursued by any artist, no matter their level. It is drawing the world around you, documenting in with your pencil. Seeing the world with your own eyes. You can sketch in a park, in a museum, on a street or at a cafe. Wherever you find a place to sit :)

It is such a relaxing activity!

 

 

 

2. WHERE TO URBAN SKETCH?

 

Choose a location you like. It can be a museum or a place you wanted to visit. While I was in Paris this October, I decided to stroll around Paris and do some sketching spontaneously in the locations I liked.  My only requirement was a place to sit as I don't like sketching standing. Around the Louvre you have many stone benches. You can sit there, pull out your sketchbook and start drawing what you see around. The Louvre with the pyramides was just amazing. A perfect sketching target. 

 

3. TOOLS NEEDED FOR URBAN SKETCHING

 

To keep it simple, what you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. You don't want to carry heavy tools with you, do you?

When I travel I usually take a black ink pen and my sketchbook size A5. That's it. You can take a pencil and a rubber as well. They are as light as a feather, so no worries about carrying them around with you. 

 

 

 

Many people like to sketch with pencils first, so that they can erase mistakes or change the way they first drew something. That's always okay. Remember to be comfortable with the tools you have chosen - whether that's a pencil or pen or  some watercolor pens. 

My sketch of the Eiffel Tower I have done with a black ink pen on a simple white paper sketchbook. 

 

4. HOW TO SKETCH?

 

What if my sketch is crooked and does not resemble 100% the thing that I sketched? Well, this is something all beginners worry about. 

How to deal with this? 

 

1. SKETCH IS NO PHOTOGRAPHY

Remember this it is your sketch, which is not a photography of a building or of the Eiffel Tower. It is not supposed to be exact and to look like a photograph. 

2. FOCUS

Focus on what you see. In urban sketching you don't sketch from your memory, but rather you focus on what you see. The more you focus the better you will get. 

3. PROPORTIONS 

Think about proportions. See them. Then, reflect them in your drawing. The far-away buildings will never be of the same size as those in the foreground. 

4. IMPERFECTIONS

Be imperfect. This is what you can call your personal style. It's your imperfections in the way you draw that make your sketch unique and personal.

 

 

This autumn scene I sketched in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. A very charming place to visit and to relax among the flowers and trees. They have a beautiful fountain there, which is called the Medici Fountain. They have chairs to sit on (the green ones, wow! only in Paris :)). 

 

Last but not least: enjoy it! Sketching should be natural. It's not a competition and it takes a bit of time to get better in it. 

I hope this post was insightful to you. Don't forget to share it among your friends. Thank you!

 

Happy urban sketching,

Aleksandra 


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